OG YouTube star Ian ‘iDubbbz’ Washburn is putting together one of the most ambitious influencer boxing events yet — but orchestrating such a massive project is far from easy.
Influencer boxing has become one of the hottest internet trends over the last half-decade. The craze was initially kick-started by British YouTubers ‘KSI’ and Joe Weller in 2018… but KSI’s later bout against former rival Logan Paul would truly put the fad on the map.
iDubbbz, however, wants to put a different spin on this particular niche. We got the chance to sit down with him to discuss the ins and outs of his upcoming charity boxing event, ‘Creator Clash’ — and we learned there’s a lot more to this scene than meets the eye.
iDubbbz doesn’t see RiceGum fight ever happening
Creator Clash began as a result of iDubbbz’s longstanding internet ‘feud’ with fellow YouTuber RiceGum, which spawned sometime back in 2018. However, the two never worked out a deal to finally settle their differences in the boxing ring, prompting Washburn to take his vision in a different — and far more challenging — direction.
“I think I had sort of the naive expectation that it was going to be easy at the beginning, but boxing isn’t easy,” Washburn told us. “It’s a very serious and dangerous sport. I learned fairly quickly that if we were going to do this thing, we had to take it very seriously. I don’t anticipate RiceGum ever taking it seriously, because it is a lot of work.”
Instead, iDubbbz is set to face off against influencer and licensed family physician ‘Doctor Mike’ — a man who has boxed as a way to stay in shape for the past decade, and even sparred with the likes of Amanda Serrano.
“It’s kind of why I’m grateful Doctor Mike ended up accepting the fight,” iDubbbz mused. “I think Doctor Mike is honestly the perfect match. He supports charity, he was so down for it from the very beginning. He takes the sport seriously. It’s gonna be a good fight. I know that I’m putting in the work, and I know Doctor Mike is, too. RiceGum… I don’t think he’d ever end up putting in the work, sadly.”
iDubbbz on boxing Doctor Mike
When it comes to facing off against someone who’s getting advice from the likes of Amanda Serrano (the unified featherweight world champion), iDubbbz isn’t necessarily intimidated. Instead, he’s excited and feels he’s set himself up for a decent match.
“I think, like with everyone on the card, we’re all going off very limited information,” he said. “That’s what I see as the most exciting part of this event. No one really has some huge competitive advantage. Obviously, Mike doing it for 10 years is an advantage. I feel like I’ve stepped myself up in a good position.”
“My coach is really talented. He’s been doing mixed martial arts and boxing since he was a child. He’s worked with people like Demetrious Johnson and other really well known fighters. I think I’m prepared. It’ll be interesting. It’ll be a surprise for everyone to see what comes out of this whole event. I think a lot of people are taking very different paths to the same location.”
iDubbbz opens up on Creator Clash documentary
For iDubbbz, respecting the sport of boxing is paramount. As such, he’s made sure his fighters are taking the sport seriously. All participating influencers have been training with boxing coaches for the past six months — something he hopes to highlight in his upcoming documentary following Creator Clash from its beginning to its eventual end on May 14.
“I want to highlight the journey I’ve taken, and a lot of the other fighters have taken, from the inception of this thing to the conclusion,” Washburn revealed. “There’s a lot of behind the scenes that, for me, is super emotional. I’ve never been in any sort of sport growing up. The coach-player-fighter dynamic is totally new to me. I have a completely fresh perspective on this dynamic and all the mental struggles, the physical struggles that we’re going through. I want to put a spotlight on that.”
“We’ve seen people like Jake Paul who are like, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna do this boxing event.’ He shows up, he fights, he wins, and then there’s radio silence. He shows up, he fights, he wins. We’re not really seeing any of the growth in between and how he got there. I want to show that aspect of boxing.”
The future of Creator Clash
Jake Paul has created his very own boxing promotion company, Most Valuable Promotions, which notably signed Amanda Serrano late last year. While iDubbbz has a healthy respect for what the youngest Paul brother is doing in the sport, that isn’t necessarily the vision he has for the future of his own influencer boxing enterprise.
“I think it’s great,” iDubbbz said of Serrano’s signing. “I’m super supportive of what they’re doing over there. I think they have a different path than what we’re taking right now. Right now, we just want to give all these influencers an interesting experience, step into the world of boxing but try to do it in a respectful way. I think Jake and all the people at Most Valuable Promotions have put a spotlight on people who I think really deserve it and I think we as a community can continue to do that.”
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When it comes to making his own promotional company, iDubbbz was a bit hesitant, but is open to the possibility — while maintaining his stance that he wants to shake up the influencer boxing world with a different flavor than what we’ve seen thus far.
“Right now, we’re just sort of flying by the seat of our pants. If it ends up working out, I can see that. I think we’d want to do it differently. One of the things I keep harping on every chance I get is like, our event’s interesting because of the mystery element. I always want to bring new people into the fold. I think that’s one of the ways we’re going to keep influencer boxing interesting, rather than saying, ‘Here’s the next Floyd Mayweather,’ and follow their career path 50-0. That would be cool, but it’s not everything.”
iDubbbz’s top picks for Creator Clash fight card
Creator Clash boasts a stacked fight card, with 22 influencers duking it out in 11 fights. Names like the Game Grumps’ Arin ‘Egoraptor’ Hanson, robotics YouTuber Michael Reeves, and Twitch’s ‘JustaMinx’ are set to make their boxing debuts this May — something that took much of the internet by surprise. But this reaction is exactly what iDubbbz was looking for.
“I’m excited for all of them,” he said of the upcoming matches. “Top three, it’s gonna be AB and Hundar, ’cause they started the soonest, and they’re getting quality work in. I’ve gone to both their gyms. I’ve sparred with both of them. They’re putting the work in. I’m certain it’s gonna be a good match.”
“The other ones are Graham Stephen and Michael Reeves. They’re the most interesting weight class, they’re both very fast. It’s such a weird dichotomy. It’s a financial guy versus a robotics guy. The last one is definitely Minx and Yodeling Haley. For me, it seems like a pretty pivotal time to introduce a female influencer match, because Amanda Serrano is starting to get a lot more attention, and I think that’s awesome. I think that’s one of the benefits of this YouTuber boxing thing is to have more spotlights on fighters who are really talented, and I think this is a great way to do that.”
Boxing for charity
Another major aspect that sets Creator Clash apart from its predecessors is its singular focus on charity. While iDubbbz is placing an emphasis on respecting the sport of boxing, he wants to make sure the fighters are able to support a good cause — something he says made the prospect more attractive to the influencers involved, as they get to “test myself and I’m not going to be accused of doing this for money or anything like that, and I get to help people out.”
Charities benefitting from Creator Clash include the American Heart Association, and the Alzheimer’s Association of America, as well as several other smaller charities chosen by the fighters, such as the Healing Horse Therapy Center run by Arin Hanson’s mother and FaZe Sensei’s Thanksgiving charity project run by his local martial arts gym.
In the last few weeks leading up to Creator Clash, iDubbbz is certainly feeling the pressure of this groundbreaking moment in influencer boxing history — but luckily, he’s got support where it counts.
“I mean, I definitely bit off more than I can chew,” he laughed. “It’s a lot to handle. Thankfully, my wife has been helping me every step of the way. She’s training with me in boxing so she doesn’t miss a session. We pretty much do everything together. She’s been a huge help. I think our whole team has been very helpful at making sure nothing is being forgotten.”